From America's Test Kitchen Season 10: Italian Bread and Sauce
In a perfect world, garden-ripe tomatoes make the best quick tomato sauce. But that isn’t a realistic option for most of the year. We wanted to create a complex, brightly flavored sauce with the next best alternative—canned tomatoes—that tasted of full, fruity tomatoes, in the time it took to boil pasta. Choosing the right can of tomatoes was a critical first step. Crushed tomatoes were the best choice because they would save us the step of pureeing. We also shredded a small amount of onion on a box grater before sautéing; the shredded pieces cooked faster and became sweeter more quickly. We sautéed the onion in butter, which caramelizes when heated, and added garlic, sugar, and the crushed tomatoes, then simmered the sauce briefly. To make up for the lost fragrance of fresh tomatoes, we added chopped fresh basil and extra-virgin olive oil. Swirled in just before serving, these ingredients infused the sauce with fresh herbal flavor and a hit of richness.
Makes 3 cups, enough for 1 pound of pasta
This full-flavored tomato sauce takes only 15 minutes to prepare. High-quality canned tomatoes will make a big difference in this sauce. Our preferred brands of crushed tomatoes are Tuttorosso and Muir Glen. Grate the onion on the large holes of a box grater.